After weeks of infighting among conservative and moderate Republicans, the fate of the American Health Care Act is clear. On Friday, Trump reportedly directed House Republicans to kill the bill instead of holding a vote that was ultimately likely to fail. Soon after reports that the bill had been pulled, House Speaker Paul Ryan responded to the AHCA being killed and said he wasn't going to sugarcoat it — it was disappointing for him.
"This is a disappointing day for us," Ryan said. "Doing big things is hard. All of us, myself included will need time to reflect on this moment." He said that he told President Trump that the best decision was to pull the bill and that Trump agreed.
Before the vote, Trump's camp seemed confident about the passage of the vote, despite extreme contention among Republicans. Press Secretary Sean Spicer's statement on the bill claimed there was no Plan B in case the bill did not pass. In a press briefing, Spicer said, "No. It's gonna pass, so that's it."
Even when Spicer was giving those comments, the fate of the contentious bill remained unclear. When asked to give a concise number of yes votes on the bill, Spicer declined to comment. Instead, he said, "We're keeping that vote total rather tight right now, but I feel very buoyed by the direction we're headed in."
The direction of the bill became clear Friday. The bill's trajectory faced so many threats from Republicans, the proponents of the AHCA couldn't even bother with Democratic dissent.
The House leadership Obamacare Lite plan has many problems. We should be stopping mandates, taxes and entitlements not keeping them.— Senator Rand Paul (@RandPaul) March 7, 2017
For conservative Republicans, the bill failed to comply with their more radical and exclusionary demands. Kentucky Sen. Rand Paul termed the American Health Care Act "Obamacare Lite" and said that it had many problems including the bill being too lenient to lower-income Americans.
Similarly, Ted Cruz said the bill fails "to repeal all of Obamacare's insurance mandates" in a Wall Street Journal op-ed, while Utah Sen. Mike Lee also stated the bill fell short of repealing the Affordable Care Act.
From the moderate end of Republicans, Maine Sen. Susan Collins said that the bill would expose more Americans to losing their insurance. Collins stated, "My goal is to expand access to healthcare and have more individuals covered then in the affordable care act, and prevent the collapse of the affordable care act marketplace," Portland Press Herald reported.
Other moderate Republicans opposing the bill included Louisiana Sen. Bill Cassidy and Nevada Sen. Dean Heller.
If conservatives were to get what they want, moderates would pull out. If moderates are heard, conservatives would balk.
Ryan's statement on the AHCA encouraging everyone to move on and come together with the rest of the Republican agenda speaks to a bigger problem fragmenting the Republican party. The ideological strife between moderates and conservatives under Trump's administration is apparently so high and tense that no common ground could be reached on the health care bill — something Republicans have been clamoring over for years now.